Category Archives: Employment Services

Benefits of Adult Training Programs

Partner Feedback

In June 2022 we asked our community partners in the Literacy Ontario Central South (LOCS) region to tell us what they have observed when they refer clients to adult training programs in Haliburton, City of Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough, Northumberland and Hastings. The following captures a summary of the benefits they shared in these discussions.

Thank you to our community partners for participating in this discussion and for the fantastic feedback. It really was great hearing how our programs are valuable to you and your clients.


Our partners said that the #1 benefit to adult training programs is the confidence their clients gained when they experience success. By reaching their goals, learners gained the confidence to move on to other learning opportunities such as post-secondary programs. For others, this increased confidence translated to success in job interviews and led to success on the job.

Someone said that adult training programs are “in the confidence-building business”.

Our partners shared some examples, including the learner who achieved their Grade 12 diploma when they didn’t think they could. Another learner was accepted into a college program when they never thought it was possible. One partner said their client discovered that they were not too old to learn. Others have heard their clients say they learned that they were capable of doing more than they thought.

Adult Training

People taking notesOur partners pointed out that our programs are designed for adults and are led by instructors who recognize that adults bring existing skills and experiences to their training.

We heard that there is value in our system of developing customized learning plans. Training is designed around the goals of each person; this means learners can focus on what they need to learn, and they don’t spend time covering material they already know. This is a real benefit for people anxious to move on to a job or further education.

It was also pointed out that our programs are flexible, which is important since many adult learners are also working, and many learners are women with children.

Learners in our programs:

  • Learn alongside other adults
  • Develop a customized learning plan
  • Set their own goals
  • Work on things they need to work on to reach their goal
  • Set their own schedule to fit work and family life commitments

Hard Skills/Technical Skills

Reading on a tabletWe heard that the hard skills, or technical skills, that people gain are another benefit to our adult training programs. Learners can refresh their skills or learn new skills. Our partners found that these hard skills increased job options for their clients. As well, many of the hard skills learned prepared their clients for success in post-secondary programs and apprenticeships.

Some skill examples below:

  • Using a computer, phone and/or tablet
  • Budgeting
  • Preparing for a driver’s license test
  • Reading a tape measure
  • Operating a Point-of-Sale machine
  • Money math
  • Math for the skilled trades
  • Reading, writing and communication

Soft Skills/Transferable Skills

It was recognized that learners also develop transferable skills/soft skills. These skills help people with job retention. One person said they referred a client because they needed computer skills but, through the computer course, they also gained many soft skills. Another person developed conflict management skills, something that had been a barrier to their ability to retain jobs in the past.

Some skill examples below:

  • Time management
  • Organization
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Working in a group
  • Working independently
  • Resilience
  • Curiosity
  • Goal setting
  • Perseverance

Relationships and Community

Our partners also noticed that learners make connections with other people in our training programs. Connections are also developed with instructors. Learners develop community and often develop friendships with other participants. Many see the program as a touchpoint and often want to return to celebrate other accomplishments, e.g., acceptance in a program or finding a job. Our partners also told us that they are confident that their clients will be referred to other community services if there is a need.

Support and Transitions

adult reading to childFinally, our partners pointed out that when people are in transition, adult training programs are a good option. Many clients are referred for assistance as they prepare to return to the workplace or to a post-secondary program after some time away. Adult training programs help people with these transitions. This means our adult training programs often become a steppingstone to other successes.

Some transition examples:

  • Parents returning to the workplace
  • Those returning to work after an injury
  • Those leaving jail
  • People feeling stuck in a situation and needing support to move forward
  • People needing a refresher before returning to school, including study skills and learning strategies

Thank You

Thank you again to our partners for sharing their experiences and observations!

If you would like to make a referral or you are interested in attending one of our programs you can also contact any of our adult training programs directly.  


Literacy and Employment

Literacy Programs work with Employment Services to help people reach their employment goals

Literacy and Basic Skills (LBS) organizations and Employment Services (ES) often work together to help individuals reach their goal of a new position, a new career or an apprenticeship.

LBS supports people who are working.  Many people reach out to LBS services so that they can gain the skills they need to keep their current position, progress in their current company, or create more options for other types of employment.

In 2019-2020, 24% of people in LBS programs were employed.  

Literacy Matters at Work

The relationship between LBS and Employment Services is important.  Studies show that there’s a clear connection between successful employment and literacy skills.  In a report from Community Literacy of Ontario called ‘Why Literacy Matters” many statistics point to the need for literacy to support success at work.

For example: 

“Canadians with low literacy skills are more than twice as likely to be unemployed than those with higher level literacy skills.”

“In 2016, only 55% of Canadians aged 25- 64 who did not complete high school were employed. Conversely, the employment rate was 82% for those who had obtained a college or university credential.”

“Research has also found that approximately 45% of Canadians in precarious work have not attained an educational credential beyond a high-school diploma.” 

Employment – the #1 Goal

In 2019-2020, 93% of the people in LBS programs in the Literacy Ontario Central South (LOCS) region said that their goal was employment, in either the short or long term.  An LBS program offers adults opportunities to advance their reading, writing, math, computer and other skills needed to achieve their goals of employment or an apprenticeship.  Also those who have a goal of secondary school or post-secondary education are usually hoping to increase their work options. More recently, people affected by the pandemic have experienced job loss or have a desire to change careers. 

People often think that literacy programs only help people with reading and writing or gaining academic credentials, however, LBS also supports job seekers who want to develop their workplace skills.  This could be things like apprenticeship math, customer service, computer skills, software such as QuickBooks or MS Office.  Computer skills are often called digital literacy and can include many things such as learning to use Zoom or completing online forms. 

LBS also supports individuals in developing skills that are often called ‘soft skills’; these are the skills that employers say are a top priority.  Soft skills include things like communication, problem solving, teamwork and time management. 

LBS programs also work with employers to develop specific training and support for the people on their team. This might be computer skills, customer service or soft skills.

LBS programs can help—at no cost.  

Partnerships between Literacy and Employment Services

LBS organizations in the LOCS region have a long history of partnering with Employment Services to deliver workplace programs to help learners find and retain work.

A few of the many examples from the Literacy Ontario Central South Region:

John Howard Society (JHS) and Fleming Academic Upgrading (AU) in Haliburton offer the STRIVE program working in partnership with Fleming Crew. JHS and AU have also worked with in partnership with VCCS in City of Kawartha Lakes on several programs including a soft skills program called Essential Skills Plus.  LOCS has supported VCCS in their portfolio training and a competency based training for employers. TVLA has worked with Agilec to offer a Point-of-Sale and Customer Service in retail training program.  Fleming AU and the Adult Learning Network is partnering with Durham College Employment Services to offer computer skills.  LOCS has worked in partnership with EARN in Northumberland and TVLA in Peterborough to create a Online Point-of-Sale program.  Community Learning Alternatives works with META vocational Services on projects including essential skills and computer training.  They have also worked with Prince Edward Learning Centre to offer Hospitality training.

Another recent example includes a partnership between the three LBS sectors (Community-based, College, and School Board) with Employment Services to design an introduction to Zoom course to help participants learn how to use the popular web-video conferencing software.

LBS organizations are always willing to work with Employment Services to support individual clients and learners as they work toward achieving their goals.

Important Relationship

Through referrals, partnerships and ongoing communication, LBS and Employment Services continue to work together to support job seekers in the LOCS region. 

If you would like to learn more about Literacy programs in the LOCS region, including City of Kawartha Lakes, Haliburton, Hastings, Northumberland, and Peterborough, visit our programs page or contact Carrie at